Dorothea’s Leap

Dorothea, daughter of the 1st Earl of Gowrie

Legend has it she was courted by John Wemyss of Pittencrief, a man of lower rank and fortune.  The family allowed him to visit but made sure the lovers slept in different towers (the castle consisting of two separate towers in the late 1500s).  One night Dorothy visited him in his bedchamber and someone tipped off her mother.  Recognising her mother’s footsteps on the stair, Dorothea ran to the roof and leapt to the battlements of the opposite tower, a distance of nine feet four inches over a sixty feet drop.  By the time her mother had gone downstairs again, crossed to the opposite tower, and climbed the other staircase, she found her daughter in bed, apparently fast asleep.  The next night Dorothea eloped and was married.*  Another version of the tale has Dorothea falling to her tragic death…

She flung herself desperately into the darkness.  After an eternity suspended in the void, she slammed against the stonework on the opposite wall, scrabbling to save herself.  Her nails dug into the mortar, carving bloody marks before she fell.  She did not scream as she plummeted sixty feet downwards.

The caretaker was locking up for the night.  He did not notice as the figure smashed into the ground next to him.  ‘All these ghost stories, the visitors love them,’ he thought, ‘but in twenty years I haven’t seen a thing.’ 

*By Emily Copland, reproduced with her kind permission.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s